Wading Boot Outsoles

General trout, fishing, conservation, or anything outdoors related discussion. Trip reports and stream conditions welcome, but please do not name streams.
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teach
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Wading Boot Outsoles

Post by teach » Thu Aug 22, 2019 6:19 am

My wading boots are officially done. I'm wondering what everyone is using for outsole material. Mine were studded felt and they were great. I don't remember slipping even one time in them. As I look at newer models though - like the two most recent offerings from Orvis, they don't even have a felt option (they do have models with felt, but I'm looking for lightweight and durable). The ultralight boot has Vibram rubber and their Pro boot has Michelin rubber that's supposed to perform even better than Vibram (their words). I understand that that things are heading away from felt for invasive species, etc., but no need to debate that here. So to get to the point, what do those of you who have had both think of rubber soles in our SE streams vs felt? Do you stud the rubber soles? Other thoughts like particular brands or models that are lightweight and durable? Thanks!
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jay92
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Re: Wading Boot Outsoles

Post by jay92 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:33 am

Can't speak for the Michelin rubber, but I've used Simms, Patagonia, and Korkers rubber soles and they wear well, but I would add studs. For most situations, they are OK without, but when you get into an area with slimy rocks, the studs give you a little more grip. Also find them helpful in climbing out of water onto slick banks. FWIW, I had serious issues with the lifespan of the Korkers uppers. The Simms and Patagonia have worn well. The Patagonia lightweights are a good combination of support, without weighing a ton.

jrs
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Re: Wading Boot Outsoles

Post by jrs » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:38 am

I've used rubber soles for quite a few years. They are actually better than felt in snow and, imo, better than felt in mud, clay, and silt.

I stud some of my boots. I used to use regular sheet metal screws, but I bought a big bag of Kold Kutter screws and use those. I like the screws for ice and certain slippery rock situations. But they are not so good if you want to stop at a fly shop or such.

I've worn out just about every brand -- Simms, Patagonia, and several lesser brands. I've got some Simms G3s that have probably worn as well as any and are more easily repairable by the local shoe repair, but they are pricey and heavy. IMO, lightweight boots are inherently less durable. I'm still searching for the perfect boot.

High Stick
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Re: Wading Boot Outsoles

Post by High Stick » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:42 am

I'm on my second pair of Orvis boots - this year their new hiking boot model with studs. Lightweight, relatively inexpensive in the big picture of wading boot options. I'm not a felt guy, so rubberized hiking soles are my preference.

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TFO5wt
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Re: Wading Boot Outsoles

Post by TFO5wt » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:31 am

I've worn cheap, Patagonia, and Simms wading boots, all rubber sole. I'll second jrs on lighter weight boots durability. I've worn Simms boots for the last 4-5 seasons. While they are heavier, they handle the wear and tearing of wading much better. They also provide better ankle and arch support than the lighter boots I've worn in the past. They don't make the particular model now, but when I do need new boots I'm going G3s.

I've abandoned metal studs all together. They help some, on ice and slimy rocks, but they also wear down, and fall out way too fast for my liking. And they're expensive. For the trouble and cost of replacing them all the time I didn't find them to be all that beneficial for driftless streams.

You could always get the $500 Daner/Patagonia wading boots....
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teach
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Re: Wading Boot Outsoles

Post by teach » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:08 am

Thanks for all your thoughts. For now, I've ordered the Orvis Ultralights which have Vibram rubber soles. I like the idea of the hiking boot feel. I'm going to forego the studs this fall (and for the off chance I get out over the winter) and will add them later if I miss them. I'm a little skeptical on the durability as some of you mentioned, but only time will tell. Now just waiting for the mailman...
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